Importation of bees

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Apple 

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Sadly, the stuff of dreams, we'll be paying for C-19 for at least a decade
I stood in line with the Coffin Dodgers in Lancen early this morning for my jab of Oxford Astra Zeneca's best.... no pain at all!

Lady came over to me and asked if I had any nucs of our beautiful black Cornish bees for sale!

Yeghes da
 
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mbc 

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The J5 line was a good one....now onto J5A and J5B...just a couple of trial grafts from each to test their wintering..up to now seems good..will send you some pics in spring.

J23 that in Italy is known as F25 was a queen heading a very gentle and productive main unit colony that showed up really well on all our selection criteria so was hauled home for Jolanta. One of the best ever. Its local progeny did brilliantly, and its Italian progeny...albeit crossed with Buckfast...really did the business there. I posted some pics of the brood it had on a visit to Puglia a couple fof years back on twitter...the line ended up included in their Buckfast programme out in Italy. The actual location we dug it out from was adjacent to Castle Fraser in Aberdeenshire.

Jolanta and I were talking with Ged Marshall a couple of years back about selection of lines. We are really lucky insofar as we have some 4000 colonies out there and only need to bring well less than 0.5% in for the programme..including as starters and finishers. Actually about 1 in 300 if even that many. You can set the bar very high. The size of pool to draw from gives Jolanta a huge edge. If you think you have 5 good breeders from say 30 hives your criteria are toiling for making constant improvement. Even then, they get brought home from the field chosen by a team leader and she herself then goes through them with a critical eye...a fair number get their marching orders out of the unit even before she uses them.

More than 3 cells of chalk in the hive?
Spotty brood at all?
Lack of pollen or lack of diversity of pollen?
Stinging?
Weight? (is it a nectar getter?)
Apparent genetic uniformity? (she does not like to graft from colonies with mixed colour workers...makes for mixed colour queens. Its ok with Buckfast as thats their normal, but not for our normal preferred selections)
then there is her personal special.......'runaboutyness'

Any of these can get a colony rejected as a breeder.......even as a starter finisher if she does not choose it as a graft mother because the drones from it will enter the pool...so she looks at the drones too and if THEY are all suitable she will use it.

However..some colonies are very good starters and finishers...other do not like doing it some much...if they do a consistently lower number they too get sent off to the field to earn a living.

She culls (as in sends away) the rejected full colonies at the queen unit a few times a season. Quite irritating while we are in full on mode on the main hives, but its her perfectionism that gets the results.

Our current superstar is J31. A pretty dark carnica type probably actually a complex carnica/mellifera mix that is very stable, Every one of her progeny do very well indeed.....really good weight to strength ratio, gentle, big dark bees, low swarmers (but not nil), tough as nails in winter.


This post is WAY off topic......
Good stuff!
I can only dream of giving so much focus and commitment to the breeding side of things, hopefully if covid allows I'll have hired help this season and a little more time and leeway to indulge in stock improvement.
 

madasafish 

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In the last decade I have lived through two hard winters where nightime temperatures fell to -16C (winters 2010-11 and 11-12), heavy summer rains in 2020 from June and wall to wall sunshine with 30C daily for 2-3 months in 2018.

Will someone please tell me where I can find a local bee suitable for those conditions?

edit : welcome back B+ . Missed your posts
 

Parsonage Bees 

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This has been a very enlightening thread for a little hobby beekeeper. I didn't realize the scale of importation that has been happening.

I'm surprised that we don't already have SHB and/or every other parasite and virus. There will always be someone with big bills to pay who will lower standards and trade with unreliable suppliers. A bit like people who might feel a bit unwell but need to get home to their family or business and are walking through UK airports today because in a couple of weeks(!) they'd have to pay for a hotel.

As we don't have SHB etc. it shows the integrity of the beekeeping industry. I'd still like to get my hands on the guy who imported that first varroa infested colony.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I remember J5 was one of mine but I'm not sure about this one. Was that one of mine too? Our numbering systems are different so it's hard to remember which is which.
Lovely to see you looking in Paul
 

Swarm 

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There is a relatively silent majority out there that just want nice workable productive bees. Type not especially important.
Thanks ITLD I am so pleased that someone remembers those of us who just want to enjoy our bees. This forum is beginning to suffer from the I love AMM/small scale hobbyist syndrome. The simple facts are that most of our bees are the result of importation of bees since, at least, the Great Exhibition of 1851. The importation really took off in the 20s and 30s following so-called IOW disease. Post 1945 large numbers of European bees were imported to replace numbers lost during the war and give the agricultural economies of ravaged Europe a boost.
ITLD is quite correct in saying that if it were a viable proposition in the last 170 years some enterprising Brit would have come up with a workable scheme to breed bees of the required quality and quantity, available at the required time to fulfil our National needs. Unfortunately we do not have short Mediterranean winters, warmth early in the Spring, year round forage available etc, etc!
I import a few purebred queens each year to try and improve my stock but I will manage for a year if I have to in order to allow the UK govt. to iron out issues with regard to cross border imports.
Oh I don't know, the only ones I see bleating are supporters of imported bees and those looking for ways around these new laws. The whole 15 million baby bees nonsense is laughable, why didn't he just say he had a business plan and new brexit laws have ruined it?
Brexit and C19 have had a big impact for many but to now round on those of us with positive views towards Amm native black bees with silly name calling just makes you look bitter and twisted. We had nothing to do with brexit negotiations.
In all honesty, I think it may affect this year but I'm convinced something will be put in place and you will see more of a return to normal.
 

Honey Junction Ltd 

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We had a few cages marked F25 & F23 from ITLD last year, they have over wintered very well in six frame poly nucs. Its nice to find out the history of the line.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Thanks Dani
I'm just passing through. I checked PMs and noticed Murrays post.
I see nothing much has changed here. It's still the same old squabbles - such a pity!
I thought it was better. It’s a balance. Take too much out and I get hate mail😉
 

HughMann 

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In the last decade I have lived through two hard winters where nightime temperatures fell to -16C (winters 2010-11 and 11-12), heavy summer rains in 2020 from June and wall to wall sunshine with 30C daily for 2-3 months in 2018.

Will someone please tell me where I can find a local bee suitable for those conditions?
From your local wood would seem to be the obvious answer to me.
My local bees survive Welsh weather in the woods without human help and so are suitable for my hives.
Maybe the only good thing to come out of Brexit is starting to appreciate local bees and stop importing them.
 

madasafish 

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From your local wood would seem to be the obvious answer to me.
My local bees survive Welsh weather in the woods without human help and so are suitable for my hives.
Maybe the only good thing to come out of Brexit is starting to appreciate local bees and stop importing them.

The only feral (?) hive I know of is in our local school eaves - 5 storeys up ( a cherry picker job for someone). Absolutely horrible bees - I collected a swarm from them last year - or rather it landed and occupied a spare hive)
 

pnkemp 

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It sometimes works. The random swarm I picked up in a nuc laid out as a trap last year are lovely gentle things. Not sure how good they are at the honey yet, but a single sting in a season feels like a good thing. Probably not a swarm from a feral hive, but lovely nonetheless.
 

Boston Bees 

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The only feral (?) hive I know of is in our local school eaves - 5 storeys up ( a cherry picker job for someone). Absolutely horrible bees - I collected a swarm from them last year - or rather it landed and occupied a spare hive)
That's unlucky. Around half the hives in my apiary are known to be from swarms from either trees or chimneys,, and they are all good. It's all meaningless of course - the feral nests would have come from someone's hive originally, and therefore be from goodness knows where. Viewing "feral" bees and managed bees as different doesn't really make any sense any more, in 99.99% of the country.

Sadly, a nearby tree-dwelling colony that had been in continuous existence for at least the three years I have lived here finally died out this autumn. Their genes live on in 3 of my hives though ....
 
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Newbeeneil 

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That's unlucky. Around half the hives in my apiary are known to be from swarms from either trees or chimneys,, and they are all good. It's all meaningless of course - the feral nests would have come from someone's hive originally, and therefore be from goodness knows where. Viewing "feral" bees and managed bees as different doesn't really make any sense any more, in 99.99% of the country.

Sadly, a nearby tree-dwelling colony that had been in continuous existence for at least the three years I have lived here finally died out this autumn. Their genes live on in 3 of my hives though ....
I remove 2 or three hives a year from trees or buildings plus catch another 15-20 swarms. I find it interesting to take some time to assess them before deciding if I think their genes are what I want.
I took one from a fallen tree last year and they seem like pussy cats but time will tell. The owner of the property said that he had never been bothered by them in the 20yrs he'd owned the property but another colony under an upstairs window of his house often stung him or visitors. (He was in no hurry to get it removed tho.)
 

Swn58 

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All those who think they have the magic formula nobody else has ever found? Don't sit on the sidelines chucking rocks at folk on the coal face trying their best. Don't complain...just DO IT. Words are cheap shots. You think it is a goer and easy..then go walk the walk.
My philosophy entirely! Trying to 'walk that walk' here. Mostly off to a stagger at the moment.....but at least in the right direction. My plans will work for me eventually. :LOL:
 

B+. 

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I thought it was better. It’s a balance. Take too much out and I get hate mail😉
I'm sorry. I meant that the same opposing views were being expressed. Not that it was quite so vociferous
 

Newbeeneil 

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I don't think it would be a proper forum if there weren't different views. I agree with Dani, I think it's quite a good balance at the mo.
 

Nige.Coll 

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I don't know where half you lot live but the local stock around the here is terrible.
Swarmy, stingy lazy things that do nothing well.
I can't kill their queens fast enough in most swarms I collect.
The one colony I have that looks like it's going to fail is a local mongrel. The 20 or so other mongrel colonies will start the season weeks behind the Buckfast ones. Thankfully those 20 will all be requeened this season.
 
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